Thursday 10 March 2011

108 The Ark Part 2: The Plague

EPISODE: The Ark Part 2: The Plague
TRANSMITTED: 12 March 1966
WRITER: Paul Erickson & Lesley Scott
DIRECTOR: Michael Imison
PRODUCER: John Wiles
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Ark

The Tardis crew are imprisoned while Steven represents them at their trial where he pleads for the Doctor to be allowed to investigate before Steven succumbs to it as well. The Guardians are ready to execute them before their ailing commander intervenes. The Doctor comes up with a treatment and synthesises a vaccine. The Tardis crew watch the Earth destroyed and then leave, rematerialising on exactly the same spot to find the Guardians gone and the statue completed but sporting the head of a Monoid.

Most of this episode is a little pedestrian with the trial and treatment scenes confined to th main body of the Ark, but we get the Jungle back in the closing minutes. The very end of the episode is superb, subverting form by having the Tardis return to where it's left when you think the story is over.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on Doctor Who debut in this episode: Mr Michael Sheard. Famous to people of my age as teacher Mr Bronson in Grange Hill he's a frequent Doctor Who guest artist appearing here as Rhos, one of the Ark's medics, and then in The Mind of Evil (as Dr. Roland Summers), Pyramids of Mars (as Laurence Scarman), The Invisible Enemy (as Lowe), Castrovalva (as Mergrave) and finally, with more than a little bit of an in-joke, in Remembrance of the Daleks as the Headmaster. If you don't know who from any of these then you'll have seen him as Admiral Ozzel in the Empire Strikes Back and Hitler in Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, one of five times that he plays the Nazi dictator.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, the closing minutes of this story mark something that Doctor Who had not done at this stage - bringing the Travellers back to see what has been wrought by their actions. It is a great idea and at the time must have come as a bolt from the blue.